Effects of a Letter-Writing Task on Empathy Toward Japanese-Brazilians as Out-Group Members: An Educational Method for Intercultural Understanding in Universities and Colleges
J. Numata
The present study explores the effectiveness of essay reading and a letter-writing task for enhancing empathy toward Japanese-Brazilians as out-group members-specifically Japanese-Brazilians living in Japan who have lost their jobs due to recession. The goal of the study was to obtain insights and implications that can be applied to intercultural education in universities and colleges. One hundred and sixty-eight Japanese university students participated in the study. The results reveal that university students who performed the letter-writing task showed greater empathy enhancement than those who performed a control task. It was further found that the empathy enhancement effect did not decrease very much after one week had passed. As a perspective-taking task for enhancing empathy toward Japanese-Brazilians as out-group members, the letter-writing task is expected to be effective if utilized in intercultural education.

Key words: empathy, letter-writing task, perspective taking, intercultural education